SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

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Asthma-COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS) or asthma-COPD overlap captures the subset of patients with airways disease who have features of both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although definitions of ACOS vary, it is generally thought to encompass persistent airflow limitation in a patient older than 40 years of age with either a history of asthma or large bronchodilator reversibility. ACOS affects about a quarter of patients with COPD and almost a third of patients who previously had asthma. Compared with their counterparts with asthma or COPD alone, patients with ACOS have significantly worse respiratory symptoms, poorer quality of life, and increased risk of exacerbations and hospital admissions. Whether this condition emerges after gradual shifts in airway remodelling and inflammation in a patient with COPD, as the result of noxious exposures in a patient with asthma, or even as a de novo disease with its own pathology is yet to be determined. Nevertheless, using treatments developed for asthma or COPD that target eosinophilic, neutrophilic, or paucigranulocytic airway inflammation may be a helpful approach to these patients until further clinical trials can be performed.

Concepts: Medicine, Asthma, Pneumonia, Hospital, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Respiratory system, Obstructive lung disease, Bronchodilator

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Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) evolution is unpredictable. Moreover, no specific treatment exists for AAA, except surgery to prevent aortic rupture. Galectin-3 has been previously associated with CVD, but its potential role in AAA have not been addressed. Galectin-3 levels were increased in plasma of AAA patients (n=225) compared to controls (n=100). Moreover, galectin-3 concentrations were associated with need for surgical repair, independently of potential confounding factors. Galectin-3 mRNA and protein expression were increased in human AAA samples compared to healthy aortas. Experimental AAA in mice was induced by aortic elastase perfusion. Mice were treated i.v. with the galectin-3 inhibitor modified citrus pectin (MCP, 10mg/kg, every other day) or saline. Similar to humans, galectin-3 serum and aortic mRNA levels were also increased in elastase-induced AAA mice compared to control mice. Mice treated with MCP showed decreased aortic dilation, as well as elastin degradation, VSMC loss and macrophage content at day 14 post-elastase perfusion compared with control mice. The underlying mechanism(s) of the protective effect of MCP was associated to a decrease in galectin-3 and cytokine (mainly CCL5) mRNA and protein expression. Interestingly, galectin-3 induced CCL5 expression by a mechanism involving STAT3 activation in VSMC. Accordingly, MCP treatment decreased STAT3 phosphorylation in elastase-induced AAA. In conclusion, increased galectin-3 levels are associated with AAA progression, while galectin-3 inhibition decreased experimental AAA development. Our data suggest the potential role of galectin-3 as a therapeutic target in AAA.

Concepts: Protein, Gene expression, Aortic aneurysm, Aneurysm, Aortic dissection, Aorta, Abdominal aortic aneurysm, Aneurysm of sinus of Valsalva

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The mortality of patients with sepsis and septic shock is still unacceptably high. An effective antibiotic treatment within 1 h of recognition of sepsis is an important target of sepsis treatment. Delays lead to an increase in mortality; therefore, structured treatment concepts form a rational foundation, taking relevant diagnostic and treatment steps into consideration. In addition to the assumed focus and individual risks of each patient, local resistance patterns and specific problem pathogens must be taken into account for selection of anti-infection treatment. Many pathophysiological alterations influence the pharmacokinetics of antibiotics during sepsis. The principle of standard dosing should be abandoned and replaced by an individual treatment approach with stronger weighting of the pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) index of the substance groups. Although this is not yet the clinical standard, prolonged (or continuous) infusion of beta-lactam antibiotics and therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) can help to achieve defined PK targets. Prolonged infusion is sufficient without TDM but for continuous infusion TDM is basically necessary. A further argument for individual PK/PD-oriented antibiotic approaches is the increasing number of infections due to multidrug resistant pathogens (MDR) in the intensive care unit. For effective treatment antibiotic stewardship teams (ABS team) are becoming more established. Interdisciplinary cooperation of the ABS team with infectiologists, microbiologists and clinical pharmacists leads not only to a rational administration of antibiotics but also has a positive influence on the outcome. The gold standards for pathogen detection are still culture-based detection and microbiological resistance testing for the various antibiotic groups. Despite the rapid investigation time, novel polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based procedures for pathogen identification and resistance determination, are currently only an adjunct to routine sepsis diagnostics due to the limited number of studies, high costs and limited availability. In complicated septic courses with multiple anti-infective treatment or recurrent sepsis, PCR-based procedures can be used in addition to therapy monitoring and diagnostics. Novel antibiotics represent potent alternatives in the treatment of MDR infections. Due to the often defined spectrum of pathogens and the practically absent resistance, they are suitable for targeted treatment of severe MDR infections (therapy escalation).

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Antibiotic resistance, Intensive care medicine, Antibiotic, Penicillin, Beta-lactam antibiotic, Sepsis

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In cases of tooth avulsion, a minimal extra-alveolar dry storage period or the use of a suitable storage medium is crucial to maintaining the vitality of the periodontal ligament. Whey has similar properties to milk and has therefore been investigated as a storage medium for avulsed teeth. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the repair process after replantation of rat teeth kept in whey and whole milk.

Concepts: Whey protein, Milk, Cattle, Periodontal ligament, Whey

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Quality of life is a complex construct that affects the overall life satisfaction, emotional well-being, and functioning of individuals. The aim of our study was to assess the quality of life of dental students at one U.S. dental school, using the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL)-BREF, a multi-dimensional, cross-cultural, validated, and reliable survey instrument. Of the 1,437 students invited to participate, 401 students responded, but 17 were excluded because of missing data. The final sample consisted of 384 students for an overall response rate of 27%: response rates by year were first year 32.6%, second year 16.9%, third year 26.6%, and fourth year 24.0%. The results showed that the responding students rated their overall quality of life as good. The Physical Health domain had the highest mean score, while the Psychological domain had the lowest. Females reported higher quality of life than males in the Social Relationships domain. Single students were found to have a lower perceived quality of life than married students. Older students were found to have lower perceived quality of life in the Physical Health and Environment domains. Physical Health domain scores were significantly higher for fourth-year than first-year respondents, while Psychological domain scores were significantly lower for third-year than first-year respondents. Further research is needed to explore the effect of dental school on the quality of life of dental students. Targeted programs to impact students' quality of life at various points in the curriculum may be beneficial.

Concepts: Public health, Human, Response rate, Life, Education, Quality, Personal life, World Health Organization

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Type 2 diabetes (T2D) in young adults is associated with a high risk of diabetes complications.

Concepts: Diabetes mellitus type 2, Diabetes mellitus

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Technical variation in metagenomic analysis must be minimized to confidently assess the contributions of microbiota to human health. Here we tested 21 representative DNA extraction protocols on the same fecal samples and quantified differences in observed microbial community composition. We compared them with differences due to library preparation and sample storage, which we contrasted with observed biological variation within the same specimen or within an individual over time. We found that DNA extraction had the largest effect on the outcome of metagenomic analysis. To rank DNA extraction protocols, we considered resulting DNA quantity and quality, and we ascertained biases in estimates of community diversity and the ratio between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. We recommend a standardized DNA extraction method for human fecal samples, for which transferability across labs was established and which was further benchmarked using a mock community of known composition. Its adoption will improve comparability of human gut microbiome studies and facilitate meta-analyses.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Bacteria, Gut flora, Evolution, Microbiology, Species, Escherichia coli

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Double-walled carbon nanotubes (DWCNTs) consist of two coaxially aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), and previous sorting methods only achieved outer-wall electronic-type selectivity. Here, a separation technique capable of sorting DWCNTs by semiconducting (S) or metallic (M) inner- and outer-wall electronic type is presented. Electronic coupling between the inner and outer wall is used to alter the surfactant coating around each of the DWCNT types, and aqueous gel permeation is used to separate them. Aqueous methods are used to remove SWCNT species from the raw material and prepare enriched DWCNT fractions. The enriched DWCNT fractions are then transferred into either chlorobenzene or toluene using the copolymer PFO-BPy to yield the four inner@outer combinations of M@M, M@S, S@M and S@S. The high purity of the resulting fractions is verified by absorption measurements, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, resonance Raman mapping and high-density field-effect transistor devices.

Concepts: Electron, Atom, Carbon, Semiconductor, Transistor, Carbon nanotube, Transmission electron microscopy, Scanning tunneling microscope

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Heart failure is one of the major causes of mortality worldwide and it is the end stage of several cardiovascular diseases. Traditional Chinese medicine has been used in the management of heart failure for a long time. Only until recently, well-designed clinical trials have been put into practice to study the efficacies of Chinese herbs. Extensive studies have also been carried out to explore the underlying mechanisms of pharmaceutical actions of Chinese herbs. In this study, we will summarize the frequently used Chinese herbs, formulae and patent Chinese drugs in treating patients with heart failure and review published clinical evaluations of Chinese herbs in treating cardiovascular diseases. The mechanisms by which Chinese herbs exert cardio-protective effects will also be reviewed. In the end, we will point out the limitations of current studies and challenges facing modernization of traditional Chinese medicine.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Alternative medicine, Herbalism, Traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese herbology, Chinese classic herbal formula, Li Shizhen